Members of the panel conducting inquiry into the cases of post-poll violence in Bengal have affiliation to the BJP, the state argued in the Supreme Court today, where it has challenged a Calcutta High Court order for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and a Special Investigation Team.
“Can you imagine these people have been appointed to collect the data? Is this a BJP investigating committee my Lords?” senior lawyer and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal told the court, arguing on behalf of the state.
Negating the need for a special panel, Mr Sibal said for cases like rape and murder, there is the CBI and for other events, there is a Special Investigative Team.
“If somebody had a political past and if he lands up in an official position — by that very fact will we treat him to be biased?” questioned the two-judge bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose.
Mr Sibal maintained that the members are still posting material linked to the BJP on social media and questioned how can the chairman of Human Rights Committee appoint such members.
The court sought a complete list of panel members and the details of the doubts raised by state regarding the members. When Mr Sibal sought an interim order, the judges said the matter will be heard next on Monday.
In its petition, the government headed by Mamata Banerjee — which has been at loggerheads with the central agency for several years — has argued that the CBI is working at the behest of the Centre and one cannot expect a fair investigation. The agency, Bengal said, is busy registering cases against office-bearers of the Trinamool Congress.
On August 19, a five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court, headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, had ordered a CBI investigation in all cases of violence crimes in Bengal that took place after the assembly poll results, in which the ruling Trinamool Congress had a sweeping victory in face of the BJP’s mammoth election machine.
The judges said a Special Investigation Team should probe the other allegations of violence.
The court had accused the state police of bias in favour of the ruling party and said they either failed to file First Information Reports in cases of serious crimes or registered FIRs only for minor offenses in cases of serious crimes.